we just had to post this review on the outstanding streaming system comprised of the Aaavik S280dac/streamer along with the ansuz power swich and powered ethernet cables the result of this entire pairing and a throughly well engineered streaming system is a joy.


aavik is one of the very few audio companies to make every device in the chain amplifier dac streamer ethernet switch ethernet cables loudspeakers powere conditioner power cables and the result is pure magic


n a nutshell, I feel spoiled with the Aavik S-280 digital streamer and the Ansuz PowerSwitch ethernet hub and all those Ansuz digital cables. This is what I’ve always wanted digital streaming to be–effortless in operation, magnificent in sound quality. This is the set-up, along with the U-280, that could make me sell all my CDs and just go with streaming and LPs for the rest of my life.


Dave and troy

Audio intellect nj

AAvik ansuz borrenson dealers


I know Aavik doesn't get a lot of love on these forums. IMO, it is very unfortunate.

A few months ago, I bought  Aavik U-280 (integrated + DAC) and the streamer (S-280). After owning several integrated amps from the likes of Luxman, Audio Research, VTL, etc., I can safely say that the Aavik integrated and their DAC is in a league of its own. I was a die hard tube amplification fan boy, but Aavik is the only SS amp that does not make me yearn for the tube sound. Their tesla coil-based technology is really cool and the improvement in SQ is very evident.

The streamer is also one of the best I've owned. It is very musical and analog-sounding. The only down side is that it doesn't do DSD, but what it does do, it's done so well that I don't miss DSD playback one bit.

I worked with Tyler over at Next Level Hifi. This was by far the best dealer experience I've had in my audiophile journey so far. He let me audition the U-280 at no cost to me and never put any pressure on me to decide. Whatever Aavik is doing with their new line of integrated amps, they must be doing something good. You get the usual tube sound attributes (lush, holographic, density, soundstage) with the clarity, bass slam, and dynamics of a very good SS amp. Aavik has really found the perfect blend of these qualities.

Post removed 

if you post a sales pitch, at least you could have run a spellcheck. 

I am sure it's a great product though.

btw I read the article on pta when it came out, so I am not sure it's a secret :)

aavik is one of the very few audio companies to make every device in the chain 

Love the concept, I know you are a dealer but do you own one too?

Not sure why PTA had an analog guy review a complete digital front end…hard to contextualize it given the writer’s comparative inexperience in digital. What else has he heard etc

It’s like when Stereophile had their editor review the mega buck CH Precision stack. Best digital he’s ever heard. Cool story, but his last digital review was of like a Mytek or PS Audio type gear.

Not doubting this gear, just doubting the value of the review industry 

$12000 for a streamer? No thanks. I'll spend that money on concerts and media.

Just to be clear, Dave, the S-280 is a streamer only, no DAC? The D-280 is a DAC only and the U-280 is an integrated amp with a DAC, correct?

@tomcy6 The S-280 does have a built-in DAC which is actually quite good. I will put it up against any DAC in the ~$2-3K range. However, the DAC in the U-280 is substantially better. I preferred it, by a substantial margin, over Denafrips Terminator II and T+A 200. The DAC in U-280 easily competes with anything up to $5-7K based on my experience. Besides the U-280 (which is what I have), they also have an I-280 which is basically the same as the U-280 sans the DAC.

I have owned Luxman 590AXII, Naim Supernait 3, Audio Research GSi75, VAC 160i, VTL I-85, and few more integrated amps. I recently took my Aavik to a friend’s house who has a Pass Labs INT-250. We compared the Aavik and Pass in his system. He was quite shocked to hear how much the SQ resembled -- same level of heft, warmth, imaging, etc. The Pass had a little more bloom (for SS standards) and the Aavik had more transparency and much lower noise floor. Of course, the Aavik is much much lighter in weight and doesn’t put out as much heat.

I know it is class D and does not have the same brand name recognition in these forums, but at least for me, it is one of the best integrated amps I have owned.

@phastm3 IMO, it's better than the Denafrips Terminator Plus (which I had briefly and traded in) and the Terminator 2 (which I had for a long time). Similar sound signature but you get a lot more of everything -- bigger, wider, deeper soundstage, more air around instruments, and just a bigger, more impact presentation. I briefly auditioned (less than 10 days) the T+A DAC 200 and preferred the Aavik DAC but only by a very slight margin.

IMO, it is a solid dac but only if you get a 20% (or more) discount off of retail. However, the real improvement comes when used with other Aavik equipment. This is where it makes a huge impact. The noise reduction technology that Aavik has been employing in their new line of amps, dacs, and streamers is really something. 

phastm the d280 pulls its weight agaist  anything at our near its price point


smooth musical a great dac low noise tight bass a huge soundstage and a great  feature set


Dave and Troy

audio intellect nj

aavik dealers

"Best no.

Secret no."

You speak with such authority. Have you have actually owned the D-280 and compared it to others?

dbagstrick we are dealers soyes we own this gear and we sell alot of great brands naim bricastipsrasound krell electrocompaniet ynthesis unison research coda and many others 


so yes we own them and have compared their gear to many others 


Dave and Troy

Audio intellect  nj


aavik dealers 

Unless I'm mistaken, @dbagstrick 's post was a reply to an earlier post by jeffstrick, not audiotroy.

As an aside, I totally agree with dbagstrick's retort. I don't know why certain posters have the need to just blurt out something nonsensical when they know it very well that it's not adding any value to the conversation. It's like they have verbal diarrhea that has to find a way out. 

@arafiq  Hoping you can elaborate some more on the D-280 vs T+A DAC 200 & throw in the Aqua La Scala Opto mkii for good measure. Where did you prefer the Aavik over the DAC 200 ?. Was the Aqua La Scala ever on your audition list. I have had some limited experience with the D 180, thought it be precocious and at times over animated in it's presentation. While the D 280 promises of a more mature confident smooth and musical sound gets me wondering , Out of the bunch so far, the Aqua La Scala is the one to beat. Still would love some input on the Aavik D 280

@sagur80 Just to be clear, I own the Aavik U-280 which is basically I-280 and D-280 in a single chassis. I’ve never heard the Aqua La Scala so not sure if I can offer my opinion when it comes to that particular dac.

When compared to Denafrips Terminator 2 and Plus, I preferred the Aavik DAC by quite some margin. It brings out more detail and has better instrument separation and transparency, i.e. I feel that I can see deeper into the music and the instruments and singer just sound a little more fleshed out and real. The Denafrips Terminator Plus tended to sound more hifi’ish but I can see how some might actually prefer that type of presentation.

Compared to the T+A DAC, the differences are much more subtle. I thought the T+A DAC had a little more air and the treble region was slightly better than the Aavik DAC. But, to my ears, the Aavik has a bit more weight and oomph. It allows the notes to linger in the air just a little bit longer. It kinda paints the music with a broader brush, compared to the more chisel-like character of the T+A. Also, it tends to present the music in a bolder fashion. I can see how this might sound a bit ’over animated’ to some. For me, this is actually a quality that in the end made me choose the Aavik. The other thing that might have affected my decision is perhaps better synergy between the Aavik amplifier and DAC. It is quite possible that T+A might sound better with a difference mix of components.

The D-280 is almost twice as expensive as the D-180 and from what I hear the primary differences lie in two key aspects: more transparency and a more organic (smooth) sound compared to the I-180. But I’ve not owned the 180, so feel free to take my opinion with a grain of salt.

I've auditioned Borresen Z1 Cryo with Aavik S-280 + D-280 +  I-280 with assorted Ansuz cables. 

It was perhaps the best bookshelf setup I've heard so far. Huge and organic sound. 

Recently I've heard a pair of Berlina RC3 driven by Perreaux 300ix with Synergistic Research cabling. Surprisingly, this setup sounded identical to the Aavik+Borresen+Ansuz. Aavik DAC is R2R according to the dealer, but the ES9038PRO Sabre DAC in the Perreaux sounded very musical and organic also. 

All in one boxes are getting really good nowadays. 


@arafiq I concur with you regarding the T+A DAC 200 and the Terminator from Denafrips. The former is incredibly measured yet realistic with vocals in particular. Yet when instruments enter the fray, the DAC 200 has this rather curious habit of pushing the vocals much more back on stage , leaving a bit more weight and impact than normal with the instruments. If listening to vocals exclusively , the DAC 200 would be an excellent choice. In addition the lower midrange and top bass note freqs seem to  cluster all elements of the music performance. With the latter, the Terminator might be better labelled the Taminator , this is one of the most underwhelming DACs in quite some time. Visually built like a tank , just with a mid size sedan engine under the hood. 

In my research , the Aavik D 180 was auditioned vs the T+A DAC 200, the Aqua La Scala , Aurender N200, Grimm MU!, Holo May Kte and a Mola Mola DAC. 

Just three made the cut : The Aavik, the T+A and the Aqua la Scala. The Aavik was the most exuberant, bold and in doing so defined it's own signature sound quite well. Only shortcomings seemed to be in the area of microdynamics and dynamic swings. This DAC was happy going forward full throttle for most of the time. My interest was piqued with the D 280 as it seems to offer a more mature and insightful presentation and captures the overall  musical flow better . Definitely a contender in my books for my next DAC along with the Aqua La Scala , devoid of any digital filters, nor any visual display for that matter, this minimalist approach does not extend to the music performance. At times addicting, smoothing any harshness or hard edges with the tube warmth. 

Do you find the U 280 musically engaging, immersive in the music experience , non fatiguing ?. Aavik claim their low and mid tiers DACs to be warm , musical with good soundstage. Would you agree given your own experience with the U 280 DAC section?

@auroravengeance I had a brief listen to the very excellent Borresen M1 bookshelf speakers at an audio show and found them to be exemplary bookshelf speakers. The Z1 cyro have received quite favorable reviews too since their release. 

@arafiq yes I owned one and no it is not the best. @dbagstrick yes I owned one for a year and sold it. Did not hold a candle to my current gear. Perfect name also dbag. 


Are you going to try Weiss Dac502 MKII, MSB Discreet, Rockna Wavedream, and Lab12 Dac1 Reference as well? I tried all these as well and went with Lab12. 

I listened to the La Scala as well and liked it very much. To be honest La Scala, Weiss, and Lab12 sounded identical to my ears. So I just went with the cheapest option which is Lab12. 

I tried the Weiss 502 and 501, found them to be competent yet lackluster given their stellar reviews. The Rockna Wavedream, heavy warm almost viscous sound with the Wavelight all things considered the better of the two. Lab12 is one to take a look into along the way. As is another , the Audio Research DAC 9, which is clearly on the radar given the positive feedback received from owners and the audio press alike. 


Do you find the U 280 musically engaging, immersive in the music experience , non fatiguing ?. Aavik claim their low and mid tiers DACs to be warm , musical with good soundstage. Would you agree given your own experience with the U 280 DAC section?

The U-280 is the first amp where I don't miss tubes in my system. I have always loved tubes and owned several tube integrated amplifier (Audio Research GSi75, VAC 160, Audio Hungary Qualiton a50i, Rogue, Raven, and a few more). I also tried SS amps a few times, with the more recent ones being Luxman 590AXII, Naim Supernait3, etc.. But I always went back to tubes. The U-280 is the only amp where I don't miss the familiar tube sound. I feel that it takes the best of both worlds and creates its own unique sound signature.

I can't really say how the D-280 sounds by itself since I haven't tried it, but the U-280 combo is definitely very musical and has a warmth which I never expected to find in a class D amp to be honest. I was actually very skeptical and planned to return the amp to my dealer after a few days of auditioning. But please keep in mind that, despite the warmth, it's not lush sounding like many tube amplifiers. It takes the holographic imaging, the dense cut-with-a-knife palpability of tubes and marries it with the resolution and bass response of a very good SS amp. But it does not masquerade as a tube amp by any means. If someone wants the lushness of tubes then they're better off with tubes. The Aavik focuses more on the purity of sound and lets you peer into the music and present every bit of detail albeit in a very layered, smooth and non-fatiguing way. Last night I listened for 4 hours straight and had to force myself to turn it off so I could get some sleep. So, no I don't find it fatiguing at all.

Hope this helps. Good luck in your search :)

The Aavik focuses more on the purity of sound and lets you peer into the music and present every bit of detail albeit in a very layered, smooth and non-fatiguing way. Last night I listened for 4 hours straight and had to force myself to turn it off so I could get some sleep. So, no I don't find it fatiguing at all

The Aavik, just like any potential dac for future purchase, needs to be above all else non fatiguing. Good to hear your positive impressions , confirming yet again just how serious the designers at Aavik take the user enjoyment aspect of their products.